Agile Acquisition

Don't let the title mislead you, today we're not talking about acquiring Agile services (though, that plays a role) but rather about how government is making their procurement process more flexible and dynamic to meet the needs of federal teams and citizens alike. We've written here about the challenges in government acquisition--from the retiring workforce, to concerns of end-of-year spending, to incompatibility with modern technology. Given these challenges, we've seen a shift in recent years from the "that's the way it's always been" mentality to one of innovation.

There is some guidance on making changes to procurement including the introduction of Other Transaction Authority (OTA), a way to more quickly carry out certain prototype, research, and production projects. OTAs incorporate business practices that reflect commercial industry standards and best practices into its award instruments. But, what is having a greater effect is agencies taking risks and trying new procurement methods on a one-off basis to see what works.

Lesley Field, the deputy administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said in an interview, "I see a lot of appetite out there for taking risks, calculated risks and bringing our industry partners along." She went on to talk about how agencies should be willing to try new ways of acquiring goods and services and be willing to learn quickly from mistakes and change course. Also communicating those lessons learned across government is crucial to government-wide procurement reform. Continue reading

Government Gets Social

Social media management platform, Hootsuite, recently released "The Social Government Benchmark Report 2018" that looked at how agencies are using and viewing social media use in connection with their mission. The report examined the value of social media for government organizations as well as explored best practices for enterprise-level social media management for government.

The survey of public sector employees found that about half of respondents rated their agency's use of social media as good or excellent. The top use cases for social media cited were:

  • Citizen engagement (77%) - social media allows for a better understanding of citizen needs and they've seen an increase in positive sentiment.
  • Customer care/service delivery (48%) - teams are able to have faster response times.
  • Critical response communications (47%) - agencies found that citizens are better informed about critical issues and rumors are quickly addressed via social channels.
  • Employer branding and recruitment (45%) - respondents say they are getting a higher volume of candidates as a result of social outreach.

Based on these successes, it's no surprise public servants want to do more with social. 87% of respondents said there is room for improvement. Luckily, there are several events in the coming months that can provide guidance on how public sector organizations can better use social media. Continue reading

A Salute to Public Service

In an era of intense scrutiny on the way government works (or doesn't work), it is important to take a step back from the national headlines and rhetoric and realize that the vast majority of government functions are carried out by our neighbors and friends. Regular citizens that have chosen to work for city, state, and federal agencies are the key to making sure our streets are clean and safe, the elderly have programs that keep them active and engaged, our schools are meeting the unique needs of our community, and so much more.

 

With this in mind, the GovLoop NextGen Public Service Awards seemed more needed than ever before. This awards program is designed to give public servants the recognition they deserve. Nominations were open for individuals that demonstrate a commitment to improving government through their intelligence, exuberance, or dedication (and maybe all three). This summer, thirty finalists were announced in five categories. The finalists and category descriptions from GovLoop are included here (winner names are bolded):[Tweet "Congratulations to the @nextgengov Public Service Award Winners! #GovEventsBlog"] Continue reading

Innovation at Work in Government

Reading through the Federal IT media and even mainstream media we are seeing two words in close proximity fairly frequently - government and innovation. These two words once thought to be polar opposites are now enjoying a new relationship. On the whole, government agencies are being encouraged to step away from the, "this is how we've always done it" mentality and looking for ways to deliver government to the people in a more modern and efficient way. Much of this encouragement is in the form of mandates as well as out of necessity with aging legacy infrastructures.

So how is this innovation happening? First, there are organizations designed to help agencies make the shift from traditional government thinking to a more forward-leaning, private sector model of technology development and change management.[Tweet "How is innovation happening in #Government? #GovEventsBlog #Innovation"] Continue reading

What’s a Hackathon and Why Would I Want One?

The name 'hackathon' conjures up images of a room full of computers and intense, college-age programmers typing away trying to break the security of sites. While that intensity and innovation may have been the inspiration for these events, today hackathons are being used for good.

Hackathons are defined broadly as a place where programmers collaboratively code with a specific project or focus. The roots of these gatherings are found in the open source community, but many events today produce a product that will be owned by a company or organization.[Tweet "Hackathons: a place where programmers collaboratively code with a specific project or focus."] Continue reading